Hidden share

Alternatively referred to as an Administrative share, a hidden share is a network share on a Microsoft network that is not visible when viewing another computer's shares; however, it is still accessible if the name of the hidden share is known.

Default Microsoft Windows hidden shares

Below are examples of Microsoft Windows default administrative hidden shares.

ADMIN$ - The default systemroot or Windows directory.
C$ and x$ - The default drive share, by default C$ is always enabled. x$ represents any other partitions or drives found by Windows that are also shared, e.g. D$, E$, etc.
FAX$ - Share used by fax clients to access cover pages and other files on a file server.
IPC$ - See the IPC definition for additional information about IPC.
PRINT$ - Share used by printers, enabling remote administration on printers.

Note: Even if these shares were to be deleted Windows will re-create the above shares to allow an administrator to be able to access the drive.

Creating a Microsoft Windows hidden share

A Microsoft Windows hidden share is created by adding a "$" at the end. For example, if the share was "hope", adding a "$" to the end of hope, so the shared name is "hope$", makes it a hidden share.

Accessing a Microsoft Windows hidden share

Assuming we were attempting to access the "hope$" share that we created in the above example from another computer we would type the below network path to access the hidden share.

\\<computer_name>\hope$

Viewing Microsoft Windows hidden shares

Hidden shares give users a false impression that the share cannot be found unless it is known. Although this may be true for most users, a user can use dozens of utilities available on the Internet to view all shares, regardless if they are hidden or not. If you are creating a hidden share to protect sensitive data, password protect the share instead of making it hidden.

An easy method for users to display any hidden shares on their computer is to use the net use command.

Related pages

Also see: Hidden files, Network terms